The Words of In Jin Moon from 2012

A Weirdly Wonderful Culture of Heart

In Jin Moon
June 3, 2012

Good morning, Brothers and Sisters. Happy Sunday morning, and happy birthday to Joe Young. It also happens to be the birthday of the new grandchild in the True Family. My younger brother Kook Jin and his wife welcomed a lovely boy whose name is Shin Ju in Korea at 5:15 in the morning. Congratulations! We're pushing almost 50 when it comes to the grandkids that True Parents have. He is a lovely and a welcome addition to our community and our family. I t just so happens that it's also the birthday of our musical director here, Joe Young, so we'll have a great deal of fun making fun of him all day long.

Applauding the Hearts of the District Pastors

It's a wonderful Sunday when we can celebrate the completion of the district pastors, who have given their heart and their testimony, sharing the pulpit together with me. I think it gave our country and our community a great taste of what the first-generation was like: what they experienced going through the conversion of discovering God, True Parents and our community, and how they have led their life thus far. I thought, how wonderful would it be if the whole country got to know these people, not just in name but also in terms of their face and their testimony. I thought it would be, and indeed it has been, a good chance for all of you to get to know the people who I've been working with for the last three years and counting.

I want to thank the American movement for supporting and loving them because a lot of them were quite nervous about coming to New York. They weren't sure what the reception would be like. But you, the members, were all so kind and supportive in your attendance to their testimonies. It gave them a great deal of strength. By going through the Manhattan Center stage and experiencing the Lovin' Life pulpit, they could better understand what the production team goes through in preparing for the service. They became good voices to share the beauty of our community with the country and the world.

I want to give a round of applause for the district pastors, for our different ministries, our different districts, and also for the unsung heroes who make Lovin' Life what it is – all the people you do not see on stage but who are here at all hours of the morning and through the night preparing for all of you here. Let's give them all a round of applause.

Exercise Ownership

This experience of hearing the district pastors sharing of themselves from the Manhattan Center pulpit was a richly fulfilling experience for me as I reflected on the opposition I met when I started the Lovin' Life Ministries. It's similar whenever you start something new, whenever you introduce a new concept or a new vision. It's usually met with a wall of defiance or a wall of, "What the heck is this crazy woman going to do now?" Initially they said things like, "Well, here she is building a mega church, building another cult of personality," " She's promoting herself and only herself," and so on and so forth. Many people said, "She's building the kind of a pulpit that if something were to happen to her – God forbid, maybe heaven comes knocking early, and if something were to happen to her – everything would fall apart."

But the amazing thing is that regardless of what people might have said in the beginning about the ministry, during this time while the district pastors each took their turn, the American movement did not fall apart. In fact, I felt the American movement grew a little bit more in this year when the motto happens to be the ownership – men and women of God – of infinite and divine value, truly owning the game, truly owning our lives and becoming a responsible adult. No longer are we to be dependent children who only know how to follow; we are to take up the mantle and the platform that every one of us was meant to be a leader in our own right.

We've been great followers, but we have a senior pastor who's starting something new that might sound crazy. Worship by holding our Sunday Service in a movie theater, of all things? God forbid. But the marvelous thing is that the ministry is a medium through which we can reach people, and during the time that each district pastor took the pulpit, we proved to all the naysayers that this system we have implemented and created is a powerful tool and medium.

And it's not dependent on a personality. It's not dependent on a person, but it's a way through which we can communicate with each other to our communities. It's something that's going to go on whether the senior pastor is here or not, whether the second-generation gives way to the third-generation, or whether the third-generation gives way to the fourth-generation. It is a system that is in place that can work.

So for me as the senior pastor of Lovin' Life, it's a marvelous feeling that we've accomplished something together as a movement in the short three years that we've worked together. I believe that, in this Year of the Dragon, that mythological creature augurs great fortune for our movement. It's a time when we can expect great things to happen, things that we could not earlier envision could be taking place in our real life.

We can always believe and have visions of what could be, but what about what is? This is a year when we can start to see what is. So it's not just about our ministry doing well; it's not just about inviting different people to receive the breaking news. This is the time when we ourselves need to become whole; we need to wean away from any unhealthy dependency we may have.

Religion is not supposed to be an addiction. Religion is a medium through which we can create and help people become whole, healthy, and vibrant. Lovin' Life Ministries is not and should not be an addiction. It is a medium through which we can gain the kind of life in which we're loving life, the kind of life that makes us healthy adults – young, vibrant, and empowered men and women of God. That's what it's all about.

Welcoming a Peaceful Addition to the Family

Going back to the great news of having another addition to the True Family, another beautiful grandchild – and a big one at that, 3.5 kilograms or almost 8 pounds, which is like a huge bomb placed in my younger brother's family – I was thinking, "Wow!" I was remembering the day that I gave birth to my last child, Paxton, and I remember that the first thing I did after giving birth was call my father. I telephoned him, and I said, "Father, I just gave birth to a son." Father said, "Do you have a name for him?" I said, "No. I was kind of hoping that you could name him." And without missing a heartbeat he said, "Okay, Shin Pyung." So he was ready.

As a parent, he wanted to make sure that he wasn't owning or seizing that moment; he wanted to ask me, "Are you thinking of a name?" And of course, with a daughter's heart you want your parents' involvement, and you want your parents to partake of this wonderful time. I thought it was really cute the way he said, "Okay, here it is," and he gave the name Shin Pyung, which means faith and peace. So we always call him the peaceful one in the family, and he really is a kind of peacemaker. In a family with three other brothers and one sister, there are a whole lot of dynamics going on, but Paxton is the consistently peaceful one who just quietly goes about his business.

I was thinking, "Oh my goodness, it just seems like yesterday that he fell into our laps. But now he's 15 and he just took the SATs last Saturday." So you realize that time goes by so quickly. I remember that after talking to my parents, I called my kids. I talked to Preston and I talked to Rexton; then I talked to Ariana. She had already heard that she had another brother, so she refused to come to the phone because she had made me promise that I was going to give her a sister, and Mommy did not deliver, so she was terribly upset.

News travels fast in our community, so even before I had a chance to inform her, she heard that. The minute I called my parents, whoosh, it was all over. Everybody knew. So she had already heard, and she refused to come to the phone. Then I asked her nanny, "Okay, you don't have to bring her to the phone but could you please bring her to the hospital?" Thank goodness for this wonderful nanny. She was successful in bringing the girl to the hospital, but I heard she had quite a bit of a struggle.

Then when Ariana got to the hospital, she refused to get into the elevator. So her daddy had to go get her and bring her to the maternity floor. When she got to the maternity floor, she refused to walk down the aisle to come to the room where I was because she was not going to welcome another brother. She wanted a sister. So the nurses watching this, said, "Oh" – she was six years old at the time – "please come. You have a really beautiful brother." She was just so adamant. In the typical Moon family tradition, she was very stubborn.

So the nurses and the nanny literally had to drag her down the hallway. Then she flung the door open and there she stood, this six-year-old girl. I said, "Ariana, please come in." She was like – (makes a face). I said, "Please come in and say hello to your brother." "I don't want a brother." I said, "W ell, I can't very well send him back to where he came from, so can you help Mommy a little bit? Can you help me welcome him to the family?" She said, "No."

I said, Ariana, "Look, he's got poufy hair." When she was little she was made fun of quite a bit because she was going to a nursery in Korea, but she had yellow hair. She had blond hair, so people called her "Yellow Hair," and she was kind of pale skinned so everyone thought, "This was kind of strange, an Oriental girl having blond hair and pale skin." So I said, "Well, this one has poufy hair like you."

Then she slowly approached the bed, just wanting to see. "But this one, unlike you, has really black hair. You had blond hair but this one has really black hair. You want to come and touch?" She came closer. After some time she came to touch his hair. I said, "Do you want to hold him?" She said, "No." I said, "Okay, do you want to just touch his toes, do you want to see his hands?" She was like, "No."

But I kind of put Paxton's hand on her hand, and then once they made contact, it was a matter of minutes before she said, "So what is his name?" I said, " Your grandfather gave him the name Shin Pyung. So I am going to call him Paxton, pax in Latin meaning 'peace.'"

So she said, "Okay, Paxton. So you can't send him back and ask for a refund and ask for a sister?" I said, "No, he is here to stay, and I really think it would mean a lot to him if you just gave him a hug." So that's how it started. But now Ariana has graduated from college and leading the ballroom ministry and being a vibrant part of our community – and watching Paxton becoming 15 years old makes me realize, "Wow, life goes by so fast."

Leaving Behind Tradition and Education

This makes me ask myself, "What do I want to leave behind? When I go, what do I want to leave behind for my descendants?" I thought it was quite interesting that our True Father in all his wisdom gave us the answer. For those of us who read his autobiography, we know that Father talks about how, when we ask ourselves "What do we want to leave to our descendants," there are two things that we need to leave behind. In his autobiography he says, "Number One is tradition. It's the custom or belief that's handed down from one generation to another or from our parents to us, the children. And second," he says, "is education."

I thought it was interesting how True Father very much wants to leave tradition and education for the sake of his descendants. He says education is extremely important because education is something through which we gain wisdom for living. This is the way we gain experience. We need to be constantly growing and learning. We need to be constantly open to opportunity so we can work together with life and with our families in an integrated fashion so we're not like just a box or strong bones of tradition, handing things down unchanged to generation after generation, but it becomes more of a reciprocal relationship. It becomes a system of give and take.

There's a strong foundation of the roots of the tradition that is handed down to us, but instead of it having to be something that's force-fed to us, Father emphasizes the importance of education in that the ones who are handing down are also in the position of learning together with the ones we're sharing with. In other words, the teacher also becomes the student, and the student also becomes the teacher.

Father envisions a very dynamic relationship in the course of this journey called life. Throughout my life, when I was growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, the pejorative term of "Moonie" was quite rampant and widespread. I thought it was quite funny how they used to call us the brainwashed zombies. I thought it was so funny that the cult – they used to call us a cult – that they said was full of brainwashed zombies – meaning totally force-fed and indoctrinated with the same kind of message so that you never grow, you're totally petrified in this zombie-like state – is actually a church and a movement that emphasize the importance or the primacy of education.

I mean, who in his or her lifetime has created, supported, and empowered more schools? Ever since the beginning Father has given an immense amount of investment and donations to creating schools all around the world. We have the very famous Little Angels cultural arts school in Korea; we have given huge financial support to the University of Bridgeport; and Father just gave us permission for the Barrytown College on the Hudson, which will be a four-year college program at UTS. Then there are numerous nursery school, primary school, middle school, high school, college, and Ph.D. programs. In Korea we have the Sun Moon University.

What kind of a leader has given this much investment and funding to these schools? So in one sense this is a man and this is a woman, our True Parents, who really encourage the divine human beings, men and women, to be our best. They want us to continually learn, to continually be that wonderfully excited child who learns and grows through every level of life.

Sun Myung Moon, Hak Ja Han, Won Pok Choi and early followers at the launching of the Unification Church's first fishing boat – circa 1962

The Breaking News of True Parents

What we can always take as a constant in our lives are the changes that come with the passing of time. Things always change. But certain things must remain the same. So True Parents emphasize the importance of having powerfully firm roots, or the tradition, while in terms of growing together, we must learn how to change our perspective and our opinions because sometimes our loved ones, our children, or our spouse can give us most painful but the most rewarding lessons in life.

That's why Father talks about the family being a place where a great deal of work needs to be done in order for all of us to become better human beings. When our True Parents and the great leaders of our movement were always telling us that the goal of our lives is to create ideal families, I used to joke with my friends, saying, "Gosh, our True Parents have given us quite a homework assignment because creating an ideal family means I would have to deal with a lot of different things that life puts in my path in order for me to build this great thing called an ideal family."

When the Bible says in Hosea 2:15 "Make the valley of Achor a door of hope," I think of the way True Father wrote in his autobiography about the importance of leaving tradition and education behind. He goes on to say that when tradition and new knowledge through education can be well integrated in the course of our lives, that will give birth to original culture.

We can understand the tradition as being Christianity and the new knowledge brought by our True Parents as being the completed message, based on the tradition of Christianity, of the breaking news of the Blessing, of the True Parents, and of the need for humanity to become one family of God.

The new knowledge can be seen as a divine principle, the gift of the Divine Principle that our True Parents bestow upon the world. So when the tradition of all the religious cultures can be integrated with this new knowledge – the new message or the breaking news or the Divine Principle – that our True Parents are bringing, it gives birth to original culture.

A Parental Heart Uplifts and Empowers

I think the word culture is immensely important here at Lovin' Life because we are trying to rebrand our movement, our lives, and ourselves, by creating an inviting, healthy, and empowering culture for our families to live in so we can continue to educate ourselves, grow together, and become the kind of a family that we would like to build – an ideal family, one family under God.

To guarantee a world of peace for our future descendants and our children, we need to understand where we come from while also transitioning the past through the present to the future. As we pursue this goal together, we soon realize that a great deal of work needs to be done if we are to create a culture in which we can love life as eternal and divine sons and daughters of God living out the original intention that our Heavenly Parent, our God, had when he and she created all of us.

They created children because they wanted to experience a parental heart, they wanted to experience joy, and they wanted to experience the love that a parent feels in seeing his or her child grow up. When we talk about creating original culture, what do we expect that original culture to look like? As a mother thinking in terms of the parental heart of people who have children, who want the best for their children and want them to do well and succeed in life, I expect the parental heart to be one that wants to uplift but not to condemn, and that wants to empower but not to emphasize the feelings of worthlessness or where the child falls short. I expect the parental heart to be able to be happy for the sake of the child, instead of feeling like, "W ell, I certainly didn't have what you have now. The first-generation was a life of sacrifice and suffering; how can I be happy for you?"

Regardless of the place we came from or what we went through in our life – whether it was suffering or denial or enormous amounts of pain – a true parental heart always wants our child to have better, to be happy, even happier than we ever were and not to feel the same kind of pain that we felt.

This kind of a parental heart, I think, is particularly necessary for moving our movement forward. I often talk about our movement having gone through the wilderness years for the last 40- or 50 years, and I was just talking about this to a group of Japanese sisters yesterday. They were sharing with me the tremendous responsibility Japan had to bear for many decades. They held and they kept up the financial responsibility for our worldwide movement. So a lot of pain and a lot of suffering have taken place in Japan.

They understood that living for the sake of others meant dying for the sake of others, and many families were sacrificed for the sake of providence. Many parents sacrificed their children for the sake of providence in that the parents were never really there for the children. But at this time, when we're stressing the importance of loving life – and last week Reverend Francis talked about how in the beginning it was all so confusing because it felt like Lovin' Life was a party ministry because we had galas, dances, concerts, and get-togethers.

I think a lot of first-generation, hard-line core brothers and sisters, had the trench mentality: "We are in the trenches; we're fighting this war; we're in this mission; we must be miserable; we have to feel the pain; we've got to feel it to our bones in order to realize we're really living for God, we're really living a sacrificial life."

But here comes this crazy woman and this ministry that wants to celebrate life. H ere we were in the trench mentality of living a celibate existence, a life of denial, and here comes this crazy woman saying, "We forgot the R in the word celibate, it's actually celebrate. We need to love life; we need to let our children know it is okay to be happy and not to feel the pain every day. And perhaps because Daddy and Mommy felt the pain of digging that strong and invincible foundation, you don't have to do it again."

It's like each generation could end up saying, "We dug the trenches, we dug the foundation through rat-infested halls and through all this gunk and quagmire, and we expect the same of our child." Well, if our children dig the same foundation again and then our grandchildren dig the same foundation again, we are never going to get there in terms of building an ideal family. Instead, we would become a repetitive foundation-building ministry. We can't fulfill or complete the task at hand by simply saying, "Whoops, Jesus Christ dying on the cross was not the completed picture. It's our True Parents; it's Jesus together with his bride that was supposed to be the True Parents that we have now."

Now is the time to build the house on that invincible and strong foundation that we've sacrificed and slaved over, that we've painstakingly prepared for the future generation so we can continue to educate each other, learn from each other, and grow together. Instead of saying, "F eel my pain in your life, child," we can say, "You know what? You guys need to stand on our shoulders, build on top of what we've already built. Run with it. Go as far as you can go.

"Many of us have given up our educations in order to serve and sacrifice for the providence. But you, child, you take the foundation that is laid for you gratefully, with a grateful attitude and, standing on our shoulders, be that externally and internally excellent child of God. Run as far as you can go. Jump as high as you can go, and touch the moon because we've already introduced the Moon in your life."

As we transition from the wilderness mentality or the trench warfare mentality to this new life in which God wants all of his children, all of her children, to celebrate and love life, a lot of old skins are going to be shed. And for those of us who feel very comfortable in our own old skin, it's going to feel a little bit uncomfortable because it's going to be like a grandma or a grandpa in the sweltering heat of summer and a grandchild comes up to the grandpa saying, "Grandpa, it's time to take off your cardigan and feel the warmth of the sun on your back. It's okay, take off the cardigan."

That's really the loving gesture of a young child wanting to participate in and experience life and the warmth of the sun together with the grandparent. That's the loving gesture that allows the older generation to turn around and say, "Hmm, but this is the cardigan I had on all four seasons, all throughout my life. You're asking me to take it off? Well, I'll do it for you. I will take off my cardigan for you and I will run with you, I will jump with you. Maybe not as high and not as fast, but I want to do these things because I love you and I want to bring you joy, just as you have brought me joy." This is the kind of culture of heart that we need to develop.

Allergic Reactions to Church

So many times in the past, in the name of tradition we've held onto a lot of old habits. But habits are not the same as tradition. Habits are things that we pick up along the way that have helped us through life and they've become a part of our lives. But habits and tradition are very different things. So the older generation, or the moms and dads in the audience, have to be able to distinguish the difference between the two.

As the senior pastor I get a lot of SOS e-mails asking me, "What is the best way to deal with my child? What is the best way to create a culture of heart in a family so that the father and the child and the mother and the child can have a healthy relationship?" Speaking on behalf of the second-generation, I always remind the parents, "It's our desire that we discover something new. Many of us may have trampled upon the breaking news of our True Parents. Many of us were invited in. Many of us were coaxed in. But because we understand the message of the breaking news to be so profound and significant in our lives, we want so much to give that to our own children."

I remember when I was little. Here we have True Parents for the first time, and then here come a bunch of kids that we call the True Children who make up the True Family. But nobody had a manual. We were not born with a manual from God that told our parents or our caretakers, "This is how you take care of this specimen called a True Child."

Most of the things we buy in stores, or any new products such as electronics, always come with a manual about how you turn the power on, how you activate it, how you operate it, and how you use it efficiently to accomplish the goal it is designed to help you achieve.

But we were not born with a manual, and most children do not come with a manual on how to raise perfect or good children. So the first -generation did their best, and the first-generation, out of their desire and enthusiasm for the new message, did what they thought was the best thing. For me, that translated into the minute I could start walking and talking and sitting, the Divine-Principle lecture series started – very early on.

I don't remember a time when I was not sitting at a workshop, and I do not remember a time when I was not in a lecture hall being taught the lectures that really were college-level material. The Divine Principle is college-level material. But here I was being taught this when I was four, five, six years old – all the way through my teenage years. So I grew up hearing what seemed to be mumbling because I didn't understand it. I didn't understand subject and object, four-position foundation, foundation of faith, and foundation of substance. What the heck does foundation mean when you're four years old? "Sexual organ, the Fall of Man, Chapter Two. Chapter Two is the most important chapter." I'm thinking, "What the heck is the Fall of Man?" So it really became like rote mumbling.

Some of my friends are really into the latest craze – audio books, books on audio. I know a lot of you love it, but I have something to tell you. My siblings and I were raised on these lecture series, but when we were going through our teenage years and we discovered rock 'n roll and pop music, any chance we had we made our own radios because many times we were not allowed to listen to these things.

What we were allowed to listen to were Divine Principle lecture series in the car. So when we went for a long drive, "Chapter One, Principle of Creation." And it was never a beautiful woman's voice. It was always a patriarchal male voice, "Chapter One, Principle of Creation. Chapter Two, the Fall of Man." We grew up listening to this and we learned very early on how to sleep through these things, so the minute it went on in the car, we would fall asleep.

Now, fast-forward 40-some years. Sometimes when I go on little trips with my friends they love to listen to audio tapes and they find it amusing that the minute they start the tape and it comes, "Chapter One," I just cannot stay awake. "Chapter One " and the only thing I remember is "Chapter Two" – "D id we get to Chapter Five?" But all the other stuff is like rambling and mumbling to me, because that's how I was raised.

This illustrates the futility of trying to communicate something to children when they're not ready: when they don't have the vocabulary or they don't have the necessary mental or physical capacity. All of us who are parents know that regardless of how well-meaning we are, if we try to force-feed or introduce a new fruit to children before their bodies are ready they develop allergies. Because we love them and we love this cantaloupe, we really want to share this cantaloupe with our children. But if we give that cantaloupe a little too early, before the stomach has a chance to mature, the child's body may repel the cantaloupe, and we may create an allergic reaction in the body so the child can never experience the beauty or the deliciousness or the succulence of biting into a cantaloupe.

That's what it's like many times. We, out of our love for our children, want to share the best cantaloupe. We want to share the best news with our children, not realizing that we've conditioned them to fall asleep in Chapter One and to develop an allergic reaction to something that is so precious.

I like to use this analogy: It's like throwing a bunch of diamonds into a pigsty and expecting the pig to realize that this is a very valuable thing. They are not just some sparkling things in the pigsty, but they are worth something.

Similarly, when a child is not ready physically, emotionally, or mentally for what we as parents share with the child, we may actually help in creating an allergic reaction to something that we want to share. I think a lot of first-generation, a lot of parents, are confused when you are wanting to share the breaking news with your family and the only thing that your children are going through or are manifesting are allergic reactions to church or this new message.

Cutting the Umbilical Cord

Whenever the parents are confronted with this kind of situation, I like to calm them down, saying, "That's okay. Every child is a handiwork of God, a gift from God. Every child has infinite and divine value. They do not come with a manual, and we all try our best to be the best parents we can, but many times we fall short. But that's okay, as long as through this journey called life we're willing to learn and educate ourselves, to grow together, and to gain the kind of wisdom for living that we would want to have at the end of our lives. So let's not get panicky and think, 'Oh my goodness, I want pure children; I want great children, but here is my child going through an allergic reaction phase or a rebellious phase.'"

I like to remind the parents, "Before we were born into the world, before we came into being as the person we know ourselves to be, our mother had to go through a period of contractions and excruciating pain and suffering. When we are being born, we have no idea that we are doing this to our mother. We just come into the world very happy to breathe the first breath of air. And we're thinking, 'Wow, this feels good.' But we don't turn around and look at our mother and realize she looks totally wasted because she's gone through a life-and-death struggle."

But that's what it takes to bring a new life into this world. And in essence, that's what it takes for parents to help bring children into a new level of consciousness in understanding who they are as God's eternal sons and daughters. In our world today, it's not a natural process. It's a very painful process. Just as it is a painful process for the mother to give birth to the child, there can be another painful process for each of us to develop an identity of ourselves as something independent of our parents yet very much a part of our parents. Developing this independence is similar to the way a child is born connected to its mother through the umbilical cord, but for the child to begin growing as an individual being, that cord must be cut.

We learn to breathe on our own. We learn to walk on our own. We learn to do things on our own. I f the umbilical cord has never been cut – and a lot of families I see in our community have never cut the umbilical cords – then the children never learn to breathe or walk on their own, never gain a sense that they are their own person. Yes, we come from the parent but we all need to be our own independent person. E very child of God needs to own our own game, meaning we have to be the owners of our own life if we are to feel totally healthy, empowered, and worthy.

We Are All God's Sons and Daughters

At this time we are being asked to let our old habits be washed away in rain because now we have our True Parents, the living water of our time. It's interesting how they took up their primary residence in Las Vegas, the town in the desert that is just dying and thirsty for the living water. It is as though our True Parents put themselves down smack in the middle of Sin City, saying, "You know what? We have got to clean up this town and turn it around. We've got to bring leisure, good leisure back into the lives of healthy families. We need to encourage everybody to have a great time – spend time with your family, go out to dinners, go out and see the shows together."

That's what our True Parents are encouraging us to do, and I think a lot of the older generation are thinking, "Have our True Parents gone senile? They want to celebrate life? What's the matter with them? We're supposed to live a life of celibacy or denial. We're supposed to be miserable. How can the messiah be enjoying life?"

The messiah is here to show us how to enjoy life because that was the original intention of God, our Heavenly Parent. Every parent who has had a child wants our children to be healthy, vibrant, and empowered individuals and we want them to be happy above all else. So the living water comes to give us strength, to help us take root in our tradition. But it also comes to wash away a lot of old habits that are not healthy toward a lifestyle of loving life. This includes a lot of negative thinking that is not healthy for creating a loving, inviting, and healthy family. It also includes a lot of judgmental attitudes that we've had: "You are second-gen." "You are Jacob's Child." "You are first-gen." "You are a new member." "You are": whatever.

How about concentrating on the fact that we are God's sons and daughters; we are all divine human beings with infinite value and we need to stop being so judgmental that we cannot progress into the next level and the level thereafter?

Christ-like in a Time of Crisis

Our community and our families have gone through so many birthing pains or growing pains as we have been growing together. We have had so much pain of parents realizing no matter how well-meaning we are, our children are going to sometimes trip and fall. They're going to nick their knees. They're going to have to be taken to the emergency room every now and then.

There might be a crisis point in every child's life, but instead of thinking "Why is my child such a basket case," many times God wants us to realize that we are being given a chance to experience a time of crisis so we can become seasoned sailors. Calm seas do not create seasoned sailors. It's the stormy weather, the back-breaking work on the seas as a sailor that qualifies a person, a man or a woman, to be called a seasoned sailor.

Those different times of crisis in our lives when we feel like we're losing our children, our children are rebelling, our children are having an allergic reaction to our faith – "Oh, my goodness, SOS, Heavenly Father" – are the times when God is asking all of us to be like Christ or like our True Parents. A time of crisis is when we should be asking ourselves, "What is Christ?" How should we be like Christ? How should we be like our True Parents? How should we engender a culture of heart in this extraordinarily difficult and painful time?"

The time of crisis helps us confront our own demons and pushes us to be more Christ-like and more True Parent-like in developing that parental heart of uplifting while not condemning, and empowering while not belittling. The time of crisis pushes us to develop the parental heart that wants the best for others, and is sincerely happy for our children to be able to do what we could not do in our lives, or to enjoy what we couldn't enjoy in our lives.

Celebrating Rexton and Lymhwa's Engagement

I don't know if you've heard the wonderful news that's been going around on Facebook, but my dear second-eldest son, Rexton, just got matched to a beautiful daughter of God, Lymhwa. It's kind of interesting because when I first met her, I didn't realize that she was the daughter of my first etiquette teacher. Right before coming to America, one of the first missionaries to Korea, a sister named Lynne Kim, came to "prepare" the True Children for America. She taught us the simple things like, "Hello" and "Thank you." Then she taught us how to use a knife and fork because we'd only been using a spoon and chopsticks.

I remember her being such a wonderful lady who was very soft-spoken, very kind. She remembers one of the first things that we asked her to do was to be our patient because I wanted to be her doctor. So she said one of the first things she did to help invite the child into the classroom was to allow me to use a stethoscope on her to take her heartbeat.

I realized that life comes in circles. God brings different people into your life for different purposes, and nothing in life is coincidence. Nothing in life is serendipitous, but everything has meaning. T here's a hand of God mysteriously working behind everything that happens. Nothing makes us happier today than the way this child came in to our community and now my son and Lymhwa can be beautifully on their way to the Blessing.

I remember talking to Lynne after I had spoken to my parents and they gave their grace and blessing. Lynne said to me, "You know, as the first-generation we went through so much, but what we want for our children is for them to be happy, for them to take ownership of their lives and the Blessing and really be happy.

And I said, "What? You're not one of these mothers who basically said, 'We suffered, so you're going to suffer? We went through the picture matching and, you know, it was just awful, so you're going to go through the same thing.'" And Lynne said, "No, no, that was just the first-generation." She still talks about indemnity and restoration. And I said, "Yes, all those lovely words, but maybe we can introduce new words to the vocabulary, like celebration, happiness, loving life. She said, "Yes, yes, that would be so lovely." I said, "Lynne, show a little excitement here. It's okay."

This is my memory of beautiful first-generation brothers and sisters – totally having given up everything for the sake of providence, but still so beautiful, so calm, so poised. Not negative, not complaining, not bitter, but still finding meaning in how God works through all of our lives, to realize that, " You know what? We go through a lot of difficult things in our lives but God never leaves us. If anybody left anybody, it's we having left God, or thinking God was not there.

"But if we travel on a little longer, we realize that life is a series of cycles, and what we thought was just a burden of misery was leading us to something right around the corner that God had waiting for us as long as we kept on believing and kept ourselves rooted in something as wonderful as our tradition."

As I go forward in building the kind of a community that I would like for my kids, and I think that we all want for our kids I am so encouraged that in the three years we've spent together in this ministry, our kids have shown us clearly how precious they really are. They have all that it takes for them to be great. Last Sunday you saw a clip of a valedictorian speech, but that's just one out many of our second-generation, and first-generation, who are making waves in their lives. I just heard from Sammi Fleisher (Vanderstok) that she graduated also at top of her class and gave a beautiful speech to her graduating class on the different people who have inspired her.

So we realize it's not that our kids were lacking in any way, they just needed to be reminded how incredible and precious they are, and how everything has been the work of foundation building. That's why it has looked so dark and gloomy and it looks so wet and damp. Building that basement foundation was awfully hard work, but that was not what Heavenly Father envisioned for our future. Heavenly Father wants to see some beautiful buildings, houses, and skyscrapers go up.

We need to remind our child that once a Blessed Child, always a Blessed Child, once a divine son or daughter of God, always a divine son or daughter of God – and despite all the knocks and nicks of life, we need to keep on going. We need to keep on being on track. We need to keep on the path that will ultimately lead us to a position where we own the game.

The Responsibility of Liberating Each Other

So as we swim through the path of old habits and let them lie, washed away in rain, this is a time also to re-think what our mission is. Our mission during the time of the wilderness was survival, but our mission now is not just to survive but to prosper. It is to substantiate, to make real. It is to feel love, not just teach about and talk about love, but to experience love by rubbing up against each other. But we also need to take the time out to think that our life is a little bit more than just going to Chung Pyung for 40 days.

Going to Chung Pyung for 40 days is a luxury. Spending time with our family in the quagmire of difficulty and suffering when our child is going through an allergic reaction, or a rebellious phase – that's work. That's dealing with creating an ideal family. Running off for 40 days and not having to deal with our family is a luxury – and sometimes we need to do that.

But instead of keeping ourselves grounded by always seeking an escape route, we need to get ourselves back in the groove – in the rhythm of being a family that can go from one extreme of extreme exaltation to the other extreme of utter devastation. Life encompasses it all, and that's what makes us greater, richer, and deeper as human beings, and allows each of us at the end of our lives to have a certificate of wisdom of living, having gone through the education of life that many times is thrust upon us, whether we like it or not.

Many times we are thinking of liberating our ancestors and we throw a lot of money and investment and donations into liberating our ancestors while we forget our responsibility for liberating each other and liberating our children.

The work needs to go hand in hand. As much as we want to liberate our ancestors, we must not be irresponsible in not realizing that liberating our children to allow them to fully exercise all of their God-given talents requires our investment; they need financial resources. We need to invest in our children. That is the way we invest in the future of the world. It is not being selfish. It is being responsible. It is actually owning our game.

It's not asking God to take care of our families. It's we as adults saying, "You know what, I'm going to be financially responsible; I'm going to be spiritually responsible. I'm going to take care of my family. I am going to build an ideal family by dealing every day, no matter how difficult it is, with all the things that need to be dealt with in order for us to grow together and educate ourselves in becoming a wise son or daughter of God."

So think about where we come from. Think about our tradition. Think about liberating our ancestors, but do not neglect the present and the future, by realizing that just as it is important to liberate our dead ancestors, it is equally important to liberate our families – our spouse and our children – to help them become internally and externally excellent sons and daughters of God. This is how we build a beautiful house or a beautiful society. This is how we build a beautiful world that ultimately we can call one family under God.

A Wonderfully Weird Community

We are profoundly blessed to be living at this time with our True Parents. They are the living waters, and through them – by looking at them, admiring them, and learning from them – we can educate ourselves to be true parents and thereby become the tribal leaders who can bring forth a new revolution of heart in each of our tribes, our districts, and our communities. And Lovin' Life is a medium through which all of us can take delight in all the active work of our faith.

And I use the word active with emphasis because this is no longer just about following, as an inactive form of worship. God is asking us to participate. God is asking us to take ownership, to be the legitimate, vibrant, and divine son or daughter of God. We need to do more than be inactively following. We need to be our own leaders. We need to take charge of the horns of our own destiny and make a difference because what each person can contribute to the ministry and to our community will be so different from what I can do. But if we put all of our strength together, God have mercy.

I know that if one crazy woman can bring us to achieve what we've done together as a family, much more can be achieved because I know there are a lot of you out there that are a little crazier than me. I'm always so inspired by so many outside-of-the-box ideas that are thrown my way, that's what I love. I love weird people. I love people who are different, who are willing to stick out their necks, and hey, we are different, we are strange, but hey, that's us.

I don't like following fashion. I don't like following what's already been done. I look to start what hasn't been done. That's the weird thing about weird people – and in our movement we have so many. Every one of us is so wonderfully weird, so why not express a little bit of that wonderful weirdness to the world and help create a dynamic and vibrant community that our children can thrive in, a community that can engender, bring forth, and invite a culture of heart in which we can really be happy for one another.

A couple of weeks ago I met a friend of mine who has many positive things happening for him now in terms of career, marriage, and family. He grew up with a dear old friend, and that friend is going through a doldrums phase of his life. They are the best of friends; they've been through everything together; but it's so difficult for the one in the doldrums to be happy for the new-found life of his friend.

This reminds us that one of the most difficult things in life is to be genuinely happy for another person when you're feeling quite miserable. But this is what I mean by the culture of heart. The parental heart is such that no matter how miserable we are, we always want the best for others. We always want our child to be happy, inspired, uplifted, and great. That's what a culture of heart is all about.

This is the culture of heart that God and our True Parents want for all of us, and that I certainly want for my child. And I would think that you would want the same for your children. So if we continue to work together in this fantastic Year of the Dragon, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish.

Next week I will be going to Japan for the upcoming youth concert, and I will be taking the band with me. But please continue to worship together as a family, so whether I am here or not, we're always working together to build this one family under God. Let's be the kind of a person who owns the game and knows that our movement is the most successful movement thus far in the history of religion in the time of our founder's life.

Let's think about what can be accomplished if we continue on this track of building excellent children for an excellent future. There's no limit to what we can do. We've all been hit by the moon. Let us continue to enjoy being in this embrace of the glorious moonlight, together with our True Parents, and let's show the world that we can reach the moon and go further. God bless.


Hosea, chapter 2

1: Say to your brother, "My people," and to your sister, "She has obtained pity."

2: "Plead with your mother, plead --
for she is not my wife,
and I am not her husband --
that she put away her harlotry from her face,
and her adultery from between her breasts;

3: lest I strip her naked
and make her as in the day she was born,
and make her like a wilderness,
and set her like a parched land,
and slay her with thirst.

4: Upon her children also I will have no pity,
because they are children of harlotry.

5: For their mother has played the harlot;
she that conceived them has acted shamefully.
For she said, `I will go after my lovers,
who give me my bread and my water,
my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.'

6: Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns;
and I will build a wall against her,
so that she cannot find her paths.

7: She shall pursue her lovers,
but not overtake them;
and she shall seek them,
but shall not find them.
Then she shall say, `I will go
and return to my first husband,
for it was better with me then than now.'

8: And she did not know
that it was I who gave her
the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and who lavished upon her silver
and gold which they used for Ba'al.

9: Therefore I will take back
my grain in its time,
and my wine in its season;
and I will take away my wool and my flax,
which were to cover her nakedness.

10: Now I will uncover her lewdness
in the sight of her lovers,
and no one shall rescue her out of my hand.

11: And I will put an end to all her mirth,
her feasts, her new moons, her sabbaths,
and all her appointed feasts.

12: And I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees,
of which she said,
`These are my hire,
which my lovers have given me.'
I will make them a forest,
and the beasts of the field shall devour them.

13: And I will punish her for the feast days of the Ba'als
when she burned incense to them
and decked herself with her ring and jewelry,
and went after her lovers,
and forgot me, says the LORD.

14: "Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.

15: And there I will give her her vineyards,
and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,
as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.

16: "And in that day, says the LORD, you will call me, `My husband,' and no longer will you call me, `My Ba'al.'

17: For I will remove the names of the Ba'als from her mouth, and they shall be mentioned by name no more.

18: And I will make for you a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety.

19: And I will betroth you to me for ever; I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy.

20: I will betroth you to me in faithfulness; and you shall know the LORD.

21: "And in that day, says the LORD,
I will answer the heavens
and they shall answer the earth;

22: and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and they shall answer Jezreel;

23: and I will sow him for myself in the land.
And I will have pity on Not pitied,
and I will say to Not my people, `You are my people';
and he shall say `Thou art my God.'"

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